Southwest Harbor, ME

A weekend of solitude over on the Schoodic Peninsula side of Acadia National Park suited Jake and me excellently. Dexter, however, has different requirements for the sustainment of his happiness.

And by different requirements, I mean he requires a pool. ‘Pool’ is nestled between ‘shelter’ and ‘food’ on the bottom rung of his personal Maslow’s Hierarchy. Honestly, it probably replaces ‘clothing’, but we insist he keep that need on his pyramid. (That’s being an adult, right?)

So, we shuffled over to Mount Desert Island, ME, home of the brunt of Acadia National Park – and the crowds that flock to enjoy it. Jake scored a campsite at Smugglers Den Campground, which had a pool, and was about 20 minutes outside of Bar Harbor. It also featured trails linked through the rear of the campground and was close enough to Thurston’s Lobster Pound – the place we first tasted lobster rolls back in 2019 – that we figured it would work nicely. And it did. It provided the pool entertainment needed for us to be productive employees during the week, the proximity to lobster roll purveyors for food in the evening, and easy access to various parts of the Mount Desert side of Acadia National Park.

Our second evening in town, we headed out to Thurston’s Lobster Pound to wait in line for what we remembered as the best (and first) lobster rolls we’d ever had. After about an hour in line, we were seated with rolls, which Jake and I now deemed to be the second-best lobster rolls we’d ever had. Our unexpected tryst with the lobster rolls at Chipman’s Wharf over on the Schoodic side of the park knocked this round of rolls down a peg. Still amazing, but our hearts belong to the rolls from Millbridge.

We also coerced Dexter into several hikes throughout the park. We hiked out the back of the RV park on trails in the Canada Cliff area and hiked up Mount Bernard on weekday mornings.

On Saturday, we headed out to Gorham Mountain, under the bribe that hiking the mountain would earn us all ice cream afterward. Dexter tends to ‘settle in’ to a hike after about the first mile. The first mile is typically very unsettled, and involves complaints of varying degrees, and a general insistence that he is not capable of the course we have set before us. We made it to the top of Gorham and enjoyed the views, but he was pretty stoked to be going downhill from there.

And then – he saw the Beehive.

After some back-and-forth chatter along the lines of: ‘maybe we can do it tomorrow‘ (“tomorrow will be rainy, buddy’), and ‘it’s probably not that cool, right‘ (“it looks pretty cool, buddy”) – Dexter bellowed out an insistence that Jake ‘TURN AROUND!!‘ (Jake typically hikes a good 100 meters in front of Dex and I).

He had decided we were hiking the Beehive.

I had no idea what to expect, as I had done no research on this hike. It turned out to be terrifyingly awesome. Dex was so stoked about this hike that he forgot to complain about the many aches and pains that rack his 10-year-old body any time we decide it should walk somewhere.

It was a very busy hike with bachelorette party traffic jams, but I would 100% recommend so long as your fear of heights is not overwhelming and you are content to move at the pace of the crowd in front of you.

And yes, we rewarded the hike with ice cream in Bar Harbor. And Dexter rewarded us with an amazing camo ensemble which he put together and donned all by himself (he hunted down a bucket hat while we searched for ice cream).

After six days on Mount Desert Island, we were ready to roll. Procurring diesel fuel at a pump with enough clearance to handle our enormity was a bit of a difficulty while in the vicinity of Highway 1 in Maine. We finally found a pump in a small gas station that could handle us. We tasked Dexter with filling our tank before heading out onto the road towards Augusta, ME where we planned to stop for a few nights.

Looking back, the gas station may have been where the poor dude caught the illness which would plague him through the next 2 days. I realize gas station pumps are known for their cleanliness, but this one must have just lapsed on its hourly cleaning schedule?

Based on prior requests for sushi from our pre-illness 10 year old companion, we also pulled Dyna into a the parking lot of a sushi restaurant in Bangor and enjoyed a lunch of sushi in a mostly empty restaurant. This is another possible point of contamination, although the server was so sweet – I just don’t buy it.

For good measure (and based on light begging during the remainder of the drive in Dyna), we made sure Dexter got a good swim in upon arrival our stop-over campground’s pool. In the pouring rain. Because I’m aunt of the year. And, while community fluid exchanges (aka, pools) are suspicious, I think the amount of chlorine that was eminating from this one ruled it out as the source of the illness.

That evening, while watching the Fast and the Furious (watching through the entire saga had become a major goal in Dexter’s life), he succumbed to the beginning of what would be a full night of puking. I’m sure you can tell, based on the amount of words I’ve not dedicated to this incident, that I was slightly traumatized. I am the aunt, and I had no intention of clearing the garbage can of my nephew’s puke 11 times in 10 hours.

Luckily, one of Dexter’s talents happens to be barfing. He’s a boot-and-rally champ. He was just born that way. He’s been puking with a smile in an unbothered manner since he was a toddler. So, I can’t complain too much. A quick round of retching, and he’d be ready to turn FastFive back on until the next time his stomach betrayed him.

We spent most of the rest of our time in Augusta aiding Dexter in his recuperation. This mostly just involved putting on yet another Disney movie (did you know there is a 101 Dalmations sequel AND live action film?) and providing him gingerale and saltine crackers.

He did feel well enough a day later to mine for gem, revisit the pool, and join the resident under aged 12 kid gang.

We’re meeting Dexter’s dad for a child exchange – where his dad gets a child and we get peace, quiet, and a whole lot less germs – in Salisbury, MA next.

Between here and there, exists Wilbur’s of Maine. We pulled our big bus off to the side of the road and stocked up before we left Maine.